Missouri legislature proposes bill to protect sports officials

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COLUMBIA - Upset parents and sports fans may have to think twice before telling off umpires and referees. The Missouri legislature is considering a bill that will further protect amateur sports officials from physical and verbal attacks.

In his 18-year career as an umpire, baseball coach and parent, Greg Glimore said he has never felt physically threatened.

"I've had young umpires go nose to nose with a parent through the fence," Gilmore said. "I've had dads and moms who think it's their position and their right to say what they want."

The potential legislation states it will apply to "all school districts, little league programs, high school, college, and recreational programs."

The bill asks for authorities "to do all they can to put an end to the increased threats and assaults on sports officials and to prosecute such criminal acts to the full extent of the law."

Gilmore, who is the Head Umpire at Daniel Boone Little League, said if he has to remove a parent due to their behavior, the coach is also asked to leave.

"They aren't yelling at me, they are yelling at a situation," Gilmore said. "They didn't like the call, didn't like the zone, maybe they had a bad day at work."

The legislation is now in the Emerging Issues Committee in the House and must pass in another commitee before coming to a vote.